Sports Pheasants Forever, DNR team up for restoration initiative

Iowa Pheasants Forever (PF) and Quail Forever (QF) recently launched a statewide partnership with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to reverse Iowa’s pheasant and quail population declines. PF and QF chapters, PF and DNR employees and private landowners will utilize a blend of public and private land initiatives to create the quality habitat necessary to accelerate population rebounds during times of ideal weather conditions and mitigate significant population declines during times of habitat loss and severe weather conditions. “This combined effort of creating habitat will not only build larger environmental complexes but will multiply wildlife and natural resource benefits and raise awareness for Iowa’s need of statewide habitat restoration,” says Tom Fuller, Pheasants Forever Iowa state coordinator and Iowa native, “By leveraging both public and private support, this new partnership will pay significant dividends for Iowa’s natural resources while simultaneously ensuring our public lands are optimized for their fullest potential benefit to wildlife.” The partnership was initiated with the Northern Polk Pheasants Forever chapter’s recent habitat improvement project on Paul Errington Marsh near Ankeny. “The decade-long plunge of Iowa’s upland bird populations has been well documented as have the severe weather patterns and massive habitat losses leading to the state’s pheasant and quail decline. However, Iowa is positioned to have a positive year for upland species, so we want to strike while the iron is hot, maximizing increases,” continued Fuller. Restoration Initiative Practices: Public Land: Although only one percent of Iowa’s land mass is public, those existing public lands offer the best opportunity for immediate habitat and upland bird gains. PF and QF chapters, working in cooperation with the DNR, County Conservation Boards and local landowners, will help enhance these large tracts of upland wildlife habitat with the goal of creating an intensive upland management plan and showcasing the very best habitat management practices for individual Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) or County Conservation Board Areas (CCBAs). Currently, the Iowa DNR and County Conservation Boards have identified over 100 of these areas throughout Iowa’s 99 counties that qualify for enhancement by a PF or QF chapter. Private Land: Properties under private ownership and immediately adjacent to WMAs or CCBAs provide the highest potential private land habitat opportunities. The end result of increasing habitat productivity on adjacent private lands is to build a network of larger, highquality habitat complexes of both public and private ground for wildlife to utilize. PF Farm Bill Wildlife Biologists: Building habitat complexes in a coordinated effort between public and private lands takes an on-theground controller to facilitate. Either a Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist (FBWB) or an Iowa DNR Private Lands employee will be identified as the plan’s leader in that county, and this professional will coordinate the effort to enroll private landowners into the suite of local, state and federal conservation programs, particularly those attached to the federal Farm Bill, like the Conservation and Wetlands Reserve Programs. Iowa is home to 105 Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever chapters and more than 19,000 combined PF/QF members. For more information on “The Habitat Organization” in Iowa, please contact Tom Fuller at (319) 321-9775 / Email Tom. For all other inquiries, please contact Rehan Nana, PF/QF public relations specialist, at (651) 2094973 or Email Rehan. Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 135,000 members and 720 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters

Thursday, September 20, 2012

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are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally-raised conservation funds are spent, the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grass roots structure.

Provider Spotlight
Dr. Larry Richard
Dr. Larry Richard joined CHCSI in 2008, but has been serving Decatur County for 34 years. He earned his MD from the University of Iowa College of Medicine and he is Board Certified in Family Medicine. Dr. Richard currently provides services in the Leon facility, to include: ✦ Comprehensive health care for the entire family ✦ Preventative health care ✦ Chronic disease management ✦ Weight management ✦ Annual physicals ✦ Well-child checkups

Duck season to open Sept. 22 in all Iowa zones Nature Notes
Iowa’s five day early duck season begins September 22 amid some of the most challenging conditions hunters have faced in more than two decades. The drought has left most wetlands dry or nearly dry, concentrating hunters and ducks on the few wetlands that still have water. “Just about any marsh that has water in it has ducks on it,” said Guy Zenner, waterfowl biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “Duck production in the prairie pothole region of Canada was good this year, so we should have a good fall flight of ducks. In fact, we’ve already seen good numbers of blue-winged teal pass through.” Zenner said hunters may need to consider hunting rivers if they want to avoid the crowds. The low stream flows are almost creating small wetland-like pools that may be attractive to ducks, particularly wood ducks. “There are very few places out there where you can hunt out of a boat,” he said. “The reservoirs are low with no water in the vegetation. Hunting Saylorville, Coralville, Red Rock or Rathbun may not be the best, but at least you will be able to get your boat on the water.” The early season closes on September 26. The drought does have a silver lining for the future. Many wetlands had lost most of their beneficial habitat after many years of high water. The drought is allowing these dry marsh beds to re-vegetate with new plants that will create excellent habitat when the water returns. “That won’t help this year, unless we get a lot of rain in the next few weeks, but it will be good in years to come,” Zenner said. The late duck season begins on October 13 in the north zone, October 20 in the south zone and October 27 in the Missouri River zone. Early goose hunting opportunities look good Goose hunters should have more opportunities to field hunt when the season opens this year than they do most years because the crop harvest has started earlier than usual. “Most goose hunting is done on land in harvested crop fields, so the drought should have less of an impact on these hunters,” Zenner said. The Canada goose season opens in the north zone on September 29, followed by south zone on October 6 and the Missouri River zone on October 13. Iowa Wetland Report available online The Iowa Department of Natural Resources provides a report on Iowa’s wetland conditions prior to each duck season opening. To see the report, go online to www. iowadnr.gov/Hunting/MigratoryGameBirds/WetlandHabitatConditions.aspx

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